May 17, 2018
By Ned Kehde
John Crews of Salem, Virginia, is the proprietor of Missile Baits. And while we were recently working with him on a Midwest Finesse gear guide about The 48 Worm, which was published on Dec. 26, we noticed that we had failed to publish a gear guide about his 3 1/2-inch Shockwave.
Thus, we were immediately motivated to rectify this failure by composing a gear guide about this finesse-size swimbait that Missile Baits introduced to the angling world at the 2014 International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show in Orlando, Florida.
For decades on end, a 3 1/2- to four-inch curly-tail grub affixed to a jig played an integral role in the repertoire of many Midwest finesse anglers. But it seems as if the grub's effectiveness has waned in recent years. This demise has provoked some Midwest finesse anglers to find an alternative. Thus, small swimbaits have become one of their options, and the 3 1/2-inch Shockwave fits this motif very well indeed.
The 3 1/2-inch Shockwave's dorsal or back is essentially flat, but that flatness is adorned with five pronounced segments. Bait designers habitually use segments, which some anglers call ribs, to augment the movement of a soft-plastic bait's torso.
The profile of the 3 1/2-inch Shockwave's abdomen replicates the shape of several small fishes, such as a threadfin shad, common shiner, and red shiner.
The dorsal section of its torso is thicker than the pelvic region. This features allows angler to securely affix it onto a jig and the shank of the jig's hook.
The shape of its torso becomes considerably smaller and thinner as it approaches its tail. This thinness accentuates the undulations and gyrations of the tail and torso.
The tip of its tail is adorned with a boot, which some anglers call a paddle tail. Crews says the boot generates "a realistic kick," which can be created by the slightest forward or downwards or upwards movement of the 3 1/2-inch Shockwave as an angler executes an exceedingly slow and subtle retrieve. And the flickering and kicking of the boot tail generates undulations and quivering throughout the 3 1/2-inch Shockwave's torso.
The shape of its head is somewhat similar to the heads of a bluntnose minnow or a dace or a chub.
Its abdomen possesses a deep hook pocket for anglers who want to rig it Texas style with either an unweighted or a weighted swimbait hook. These hooks have a screw lock, which attaches the head of the swimbait to the eye of the hook.
In addition to being the proprietor of Missile Baits, Crews has been a professional tournament angler who has competed on the Bassmaster, FLW, PPA, and other circuits during the past 15 years. And like many of the anglers on those circuits, Crews usually opts for a drop-shot rig as his finesse option. Since 2014, the 3 1/2-inch Shockwave has been an effective addition to Crews' drop-shot repertoire. When he works with a drop-shot rig, Crews nose hooks it on a 1/0 drop-shot hook, and the length of his sinker's leader ranges from 12 inches to 36 inches. He opts for the 36-inch leader when the black bass are foraging on threadfin shad or small gizzard shad well off of the bottom.
Midwest finesse anglers, of course, shun the drop shot and big swimbait hooks. They are jig devotees. Therefore, they will affix it to a small jig, and the hook will be exposed. Before Midwest finesse anglers affix the 3 1/2-inch Shockwave to the jig, many of them will amputate a portion of the head to make it a slightly shorter bait. After it is properly positioned on the jig, they will employ it as they traditionally employed their curly-tailed-grub rigs with a slow and do-nothing swimming retrieve, which is the retrieve that the late Charlie Brewer of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, taught to them decades ago, and sometimes this retrieve is called polishing the rocks. There will be times, of course, when they retrieve it through, over, and around patches of aquatic vegetation, such as American pondweed, American water willows, bushy pondweed, chara, coontail, curly-leaf pondweed, and milfoil.
The 3 1/2-inch Shockwave is available in the following colors: Baby Bass, Bombshell, Candygill, Chartreuse White, Fisholicious, Forested Purple, Green Pumpkin Watermelon, Pearl White, and Shrapnel.
Anglers can purchase a package of eight for $3.99.
(1) Here is a link to Missile Baits' website's feature on the 3 1/2-inch Shockwave: https://missilebaits.com/product/shockwave-3-5/. At this site, there is also a YouTube video that features Crews explaining some of the ways he uses and rigs it.
(2) Here is the link to the gear guide the gear guide about The 48 Worm: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/missile-baits-the-48-worm/.